Thursday, 16 August 2007

Suffer Little Children

There's been a couple of instances recently in the news where young children have been either neglected or actively abused by family members leading to the deaths of the children.

One of the things I found hardest to get to grips with after joining the job was coming face to face with this sort of depravity and not throwing the parent out of the nearest window. I couldn't understand how an adult could treat any child so badly, never mind their own. But there were lots and lots of examples of how wrong I was. Still, I never quite got used to it.

One particular time, we'd been looking for a guy who was wanted for theft and burglary and we knew he spent a lot of time at a particular house. The woman who lived there, we'll call her "Sara", was a raging heroin addict and had four kids. The youngest was still in nappies and the eldest about fourteen. Her place was basically an open house for any drug addled low life in the area and when her benefits couldn't stretch to her heroin she paid for them by whoring herself to the other users and anyone else she could find. She'd do this at home with the kiddies still in the house.

Anyway, we'd gone round there and put containment on the house to stop the bloke we were looking for skipping over the back wall. I knocked on the door and, after being told to "f*ck off" several times I persuaded Sara that it would be easier if she opened the door from the inside rather than us doing it from the outside.

I walked in and the sight I was met with was enough to block out the abuse she was giving me from about six inches away. As she called me every name under the Sun, including a few I'd never heard before, screaming into my ear I gazed around her "home".

The kitchen was covered in dirty clothes and dirty plates and pans. To the point that you couldn't see any of the work tops and most of the floor. There were flies, living and dead, all over and a small army of ants working their way around the days old rotting food. Turning left, I walked down the hall into her "living room". I call it that, but the only things actually living there were probably what Tony Blair was searching for in Iraq. The sofas were taken up by a group of heroin addicts I was on nodding terms with and they were engrossed in the football. I said hello to them as I looked behind the sofa for the chap we were looking for.

Instead, I found Sara's youngest, filthy dirty and with a nappy overflowing with piss and shit. He gave me a big smile and wave. His hands were black with ingrained dirt.

Sara's carpet was purple originally, but in most places had either worn away or was now more of a browny black colour. There was a stench of human fecaes that made me retch. I asked one of the bobbies with me to wait in the living room and I walked upstairs. Again, the carpet had all but worn away. On the landing there was an ironing board set up and, on the ironing board a large saucepan. Sticking out of the pan was a wooden spoon. I looked inside and saw it contained some rice krispies and milk that had long since gone off. The stink of the sour milk did help to cover the smell of urine from the bedrooms though so small mercies...

The bathroom was more filthy than the living room, the toilet caked in brown stains and the bath full of more dirty clothes. The bedrooms were equally bad, with matresses on the floor barely covered by dirty sheets. Again, the floors were covered in dirty clothes and half eaten takeaway meals.

Sara's room, unsurprisingly, was the cleanest of the lot. That said, it still stank of sweat, dirt and recently burned heroin. I prodded around the rooms with my stick and we eventually found the bloke we were looking for hiding in a cupboard set into the wall in one of the kid's bedrooms. Considering he was going to go to prison, he was remarkably compliant. I put this down to the fact he was close to passing out due to the smell. In fact, he perked up enough to put up a bit of a fight one he'd had some fresh air.

We obviously removed the kids that were there under a Police Protection Order and Sara kicked right off. The loving, caring mother was probably stressed about losing her child benefit payments. As I carried the toddler out (admittedly at arms length. I mean, I like kids as much as the next person but...) Sara was again screaming at me as she was held back by a bobby and one of her smack head mates. The temptation to drag her upstairs and stick her face in the pan on the ironing board was almost overwhelming.

Instead, as she followed me outside and played up to the growing audience of jeering anti-Police neighbours I instead just pointed out, loud enough for them to hear, why exactly I was taking her children away. All of a sudden the neighbours weren't quite as supportive of her.

As we drove away we felt like we'd done a good job all round and I definately didn't mind filling in the paperwork for Social Services to follow up on our P.P.O. Thing is, within a week, the kids were back living in the slum after Sara had given "assurances" to the social workers. Still, we felt like we'd done our bit and at least we knew to keep an eye on the kiddies in the future.

I bumped into her eldest not long ago. She'd left Sara's as soon as she could and got a place at a hostel for young people. She found a job and started a college course and she's doing OK. She's been in trouble once or twice, but not for anything particularly bad and I felt really proud of her. She's beaten the odds and I just hope her brothers and sisters do too.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Only The Big Issues

So much has changed since I popped off and have since come back.

There's a new Prime Minister (I was going to say new Home Sec' too, but that goes without saying. When's the last time anyone spent more than eight days in the post?) and we're waiting to see what his thoughts on Policing are.

The threat from Al Qaeda is still ever-present culminating in some mis-guided numpty trying to drive his BBQ set into Glasgow airport. (On a side issue, could they possibly have picked a worse target? Anywhere else in the country the passengers would have been running for cover. In Glasgow they all weigh in and give them a pasting. Even the bloke who was on fire! I saw (made up) an interview with one of them on TV. He said, "I saw he was on fire and tried to put him out with the fire extinguisher". Interviewer: "Yes, but they work better if you spray water out of them, not beat the person around the head with it".)

There's been massive falls on the stock exchange leading to fears of global financial meltdown. Or something.

The football season's just started and I'm trying to convince Mrs Paperwork that we need Sky Sports. Even if it means we don't eat for a couple of weeks. Think of the weight we'd lose.

And it looks like we've got another fight on our hands to get a pay rise in September.

But all of these issues pale into insignificance alongside that of a new tea fund that's been introduced in my absence. Honestly, turn your back for five minutes and somebody goes and hikes up the prices and buys crap biscuits. Supermarket own-brand digestives are inferior! Only custard creams, bourbons, hob nobs and McVities digestives (chocolate or plain) are acceptable!

It's possibly because of this trauma that I was a very bad boy on my return. My inbox contained a daft amount of emails, so many that it would (possibly) have taken days just to skim through them. So, in the interests of efficiency, I just kind of deleted them all. I've got to be honest, after the initial burst of endorphin-fuelled high I did wonder whether it was such a good idea. I mean, there was almost certainly one or two in there that, if not exactly interesting or important, did need some sort of action from me.

So I'm waiting for the fallout and trying to think of excuses. I was going to blame it on the Home Secretary. By the time they work out who it is this week they'll have forgotten why they're asking in the first place.

Friday, 10 August 2007

I Only Popped Out For A Loaf Of Bread...

Er, hiya...

Sorry I've been a bit quiet. I had to go work away at short notice.

I've had loads of really nice emails and other messages from people asking where I am and, if I've died in some sort of yachting accident, can they have my kit?

Well, just to dispell any rumours, I'm back, I've not been sacked, I haven't run off with the Superintendant's wife (recently), I am still here and I definately DID NOT toe the party line.

It's my first proper day back today but I'm going to try and get something a bit more substantial down on Monday.

In the meantime, hope you're all enjoying the weather and keeping safe out there.

Peace and love,